"Twins?" Pinkie Pie gasped.
Celestia's eyes widened at what she sensed, something only she could sense. 'They...they feel the same...but...that's impossible...'
The bride stood with her mouth hanging open. Her right eye twitched.
"This time. Bucked up. From low.
Because of a random nothing? NOO!"
A ball of green magic condensed into raw force fired from the bride's horn, aimed at either the dirty Cadence or Blueblood, none could tell, but the white unicorn mare summoned a shield spell that shattered on impact sending the mare out of the wedding hall so hard she bounced and skidded on the royal carpet.
Blueblood went to the downed mare's side, she was breathing, but not much else, he hoped he imagined the cracks in her horn.
Everypony's eyes were now on the bride who couldn't brush off what she had used as a harmless stun spell.
The dirty Cadence put herself between the bride and the couple then shouted. "She's a changeling. She takes the form of somepony you love and gains power by feeding off your love for them."
The bride's breath came in haggard gasps, her entire body shook with fury of a wild bull, her eyes were like an enraged beast's. A pillar of green fire exploded from her, the image of the bride Princess Cadenza slid away, the wedding dress burning off her.
When the flame cleared the mare could have been a black Alicorn, if you were blindingly drunk on salt. She had green dragon eyes and fangs. Her dragonfly-like wings, legs, blue mane, and horn all had holes like they were moth eaten, or decaying. Nopony could tell if the green on her back and wrapping on her stomach were regalia or a part of her body. A black crown with blue jewels similarly could either be a part of her or an ordainment.
'Rosedust, they're alive,' Princess Celestia thought.
Nearly all present gasped in horror at the sight.
"Not a changeling you brat! The Queen Of All Changelings! I. AM. CHRYSALIS! And you still being here changes nothing Cadence! My duty is to find my subjects food, and Equestria has more love than any other! And it all belongs to us."
"Not going to happen! Shining Armor's protection spell will keep your changelings from ever even reaching us!" Princess Cadence snapped.
Queen Chrysalis chuckled. "Oh little princess, what made you think my army was outside Canterlot?"
Cadence's eyes widened. "No," she whispered.
"This wedding was their signal to begin! I thank everypony here for cooperating with 'your' local royal guards! And the only reason I'm saying any of this, is because I already know there is nothing you can do about it."
"WANNA BET?!" Rainbow Dash snarled readying to cold start a Sonic-Rainboom to the changeling's face, but got dragged down by a familiar tail bite by, "AJ! Not now! You heard the big bug!"
"Yeah Ah heard Her Madjesty, it's hopeless," Applejack said matter of fact.
"The Tartarus?! AJ!" RD didn't believe what she just heard. "Come on! We can't just stand here! Pure Evil Ten O'clock!"
"There's no such thing as 'pure evil' Dashie, Princess Luna, Fluttershy, Trixie, were all still good inside, even super-mega-nasty-awful Discord had a fun side," Pinkie Pie pointed out.
"Fun does not equal good!"
"K'. But the point is Dashie, she said love is food for her, but love grows when ya share it right? So she just can see sharing is better for her bug-ponies than this whole invasion non-sense. If she lives off love, she must have a heart right? After all, the Paradise Ponies convinced total nasties to be nice a lot. We should do the same before the nasty fighting even starts! That's the pony way!"
"BLAGH! I can't stand another word of your tripe!
You are hunting Snipe!
I am not part of your naive 'bad and good!'
The hungry beast is all that's under the hood!"
Chrysalis hissed forgetting herself.
"That's not true! See?!" Pinkie Pie pulled a small cloud from nowhere despite not being a Pegasus with the view inside only visible to the Elements and Chrysalis. Pinkie Pie's jaw dropped, when she saw in the cloud a grave etched with a little wing and halo so badly desecrated she could not read the name, and dancing around it was an image the of the changeling queen in a devil costume,
"I am savage wild and free!"
Not bound by moral am me!"
The cloud fell away like a felt drawing. Pinkie Pie cried out in horror. "You-you're like a monster from the Everfree! You're WORSE than a monster from Everfree!"
Chrysalis rolled her eyes, "Finally a cattle gets it."
Rarity for her part was transfixed by the hope they could subdue this invader without violence (and through her, her army) and the combined disgust at this monster stealing an innocent mare's wedding day from her, playing them all like pawns, and destroying the wedding dress Rarity had made, that dress had been a gift, and now would never be worn by its rightful owner.
Fluttershy was snapped out of her own spine freezing fear at this pony-seeming horror by the wild panic of her song birds, they were terrified of the fake bride now that she had shed her mask. The poor things freaked out, wanting in fly in every direction. None but Fluttershy gave the poor creatures a moment's thought. Her animals were her family, she had a responsibility towards them. She desperately soothed and calmed them down least they catch the ire of this thing shaped like a pony but was not a pony. Fluttercruel felt an unearthly sensation of wrongness and familiarity from the monster.
The CMC hugged each other, it was almost the advent of Nightmare Moon all over again, but this wasn't the boogymare from Nightmare Night, this had been the princess who had been so nice to them! And hadn't even been the princess at all. They didn't notice Sweetie Belle was just smiling. Silver Tongue put his forelegs around his daughter, his eyes narrowed at the unknown danger, his heart beating like a drum.
"Hey, Shining. Time to be the brave knight and rescue the princess from the wicked witch," Banjo whispered.
"It's fine. Everything is going fine now."
"Shining, I know you almost married the queen of ugly but don't conk-out now!" Caramel prodded.
"Cadence will forgive you, just help her already dummy!" Cherry Coke implored.
"If you don't wanna I can give it a crack," Note Worthy baited.
"All of you stay exactly where you are. That is an order," Shining Armor said in a monotone not even looking at them.
"What?!" Banjo gasped.
"Are you questioning my orders soldier?"
"No offense Shining but if Cadence never needed protecting, now would be-" Shining Armor bucked Banjo's leg so hard it broke. He collapsed in blinding pain.
"Shin' have you gone nuts?!" Note Worthy gasped getting close to his friend.
"I said stay still, that's an order," SA's voice couldn't have been more emotionless.
Princess Celestia took one look at Shining Armor and ordered. "Spike get a warning out to all royal guards and my sister! The guard has been infiltrated!"
"I can't do that, sorry," Spike said.
"Spike! Now is not the time to be timid!" Rarity heard herself shout.
"I'm sorry. Her Majesty doesn't want me to."
"Spike what do you mean I don't want you to!" Princess Celestia gasped.
"My minion isn't talking about you your highness," Chrysalis said warmly.
Rarity gracefully forgot herself, elegantly charged at the baby dragon in her lovely dress, and beautifully struck the dragon in the face. "Impostor! Where is Spike?"
The queen of hunger rolled her eyes. "Pst. Your ponies are beyond stupid. You cling to the answer that's the most comfortable. That is the real Spike."
The Queen spoke in a copy of Cadence's voice, "Oh Rarity, don't you understand? If I was lying you'd never suspect I was. I am an actress."
"Rarity, I'm sorry. It's what Her Majesty wants," Spike whimpered. Rarity looked at Spike and herself in horror.
"How could we be such fools?!" Rarity lamented.
Chrysalis rolled her eyes. "It's your nature. BUT STOP selling yourselves, and me so short!" She spoke in Cadence's voice again. "I've fooled many, many ponies besides you lot, I once tricked a loving couple into thinking I was their son. So don't be so arrogant as to think you are wiser or more perceptive than all of them. I spent forever making sure the left and right hooves were too busy to think and weren't able to compare notes! I spent decades planning for this moment! If you were stupid, I'd have invaded years ago instead of slowly getting my troops in position to begin this invasion! If you were stupid I'd not even have NEEDED to launch an invasion! That's where me and that pompous, over inflated manchild of a chaos spirit differ! I didn't assume you couldn't beat me! I knew you could and that's why now I'm standing tall! I am an actress, the best!"
Cadence made a beeline straight for Shining Armor. Chrysalis stomped into her path.
"Don't even try little princess. Or do you want a one way trip back to a hole in the ground with no exit?"
Cadence gritted her teeth as she felt one of her legs shake. "Your Shining Armor belongs to me now. And he won't be doing much as your husband OR Captain of the Royal Guard now. Isn't that right?"
"Yes, My Love." Shining Armor gasped out dimly.
By now the assembled ponies were mortified.
Celestia had had enough.
"You made a mistake by revealing yourself early impostor! SURRENDER! Shining Armor is not Equestria's only protector! Stand down or I'll protect my subjects from you myself!"
I wished I was Luna, because then I could have shot this fallen Flutterpony through the back to protect my ponies without a shred of guilt. But I wasn't gifted with her ruthlessness. And I rationalized that if she did have an army, we needed her to call them off least they try to avenge their fallen leader.
"There's no way you were once the Element of Laughter, that was a terrible joke," Chrysalis said, "Tell your ponies to submit and my changelings will be gentle."
"This is my response." A beam of golden light shot straight at the changeling queen, the temperature in the room skyrocketed in seconds, causing the ponies watching to begin sweating.
A green beam of the queen's own horn perfectly aligned with the princess' magic, the two clashing.
(Notes (Earth Pony): Teacher! Give it everything! Don't hold back!)
Queen Chrysalis' eyes widened in surprise, then alarm as she found her hooves skidding across the floor leaving trenches.
"YOUR MAJESTY!" A handful of ponies and one dragon cried out in concern and fear.
Why is she so strong?! She isn't SUPPOSED to be this strong!
(Notes (Pegasus): Picked the wrong Celestia to mess with!)
You aren't even supposed to be here!!
Princess Celestia's beam forced back the Changeling Queen into a wall and overwhelmed her, the changeling queen's body exploded in a mass of green fire.
"They always explode," Pinkie Pie said.
The charred and empty remains of the changeling queen slid down down, burned and lifeless, a broken shell that had once contained life.
Several ponies and one dragon in the room seemed to be in a state of shock.
"I am sorry," Princess Celestia sighed and lowered her head.
"You will be." Celestia's eyes shot open, the corpse got to its feet, and green flames flashed revealing an angry and alive Chrysalis with a forehead bleeding green.
Chrysalis let out a changeling war cry and unleashed another green beam, this one at much closer range and with much greater intensity. Princess Celestia, caught off guard, counterattacked, and the two beams locked again, but this time the green beam was shaped almost like a spear, or needle, and struck Princess Celestia's horn dead center. Princess Celestia cried out the attack traveled through her horn, and overwhelmed the magic centers of her brain. Her eyes rolled up in her head as she fell to her side, her legs involuntary twitching.
If...if I had given anymore, I would have burned to ashes everypony in that room before I put down Chrysalis.
"I told you, I'm an actress!" Chrysalis hissed, putting a hoof to her head and snarling at the blood she saw on it.
"What was supposed to happen, was not that.
YOU LITTLE RATS!"
Every Equestrian in the room felt her hearts fill with consternation. Fluttershy and Rarity's eyes filled with tears. So did Twilight's, but you wouldn't know it from her happy expression.
"I always knew Princess Celestia was weak!" Shouted a noble, nopony saw which one, or they'd have clobbered him before the changelings could.
Chrysalis groaned. Not about to have her victory lessened. "No you morons, she could have killed me. The amount of Shining Armor's love for Cadence I've taken has made me more powerful than I thought possible. I didn't think love this pure and intense existed. Then again, I had never fed on the love for a goddess before."
"I always knew Princess Celestia was incompetent!"
"Oh shut the buck up!" Chrysalis groaned and face hoofed. "Slipping through and infiltrating her information network undetected and avoiding her magical security precautions were the greatest challenges of my life. Let alone fooling her! Stop trying to belittle my accomplishments you nobility morons!"
"Everypony! Protect Celestia!" Rainbow Dash snarled before the guards could, rising up and the others got the memo to protect the beloved mother of their herd.
Only to be stopped by a line of spell blasts that strafed their path.
Twilight waved her hoof in a 'naughty-naughty' gesture. "Now now Friends, don't ruin Her Majesty's big day, remember what Spike said before you hurt him Rarity?"
Rarity blanched. "We're dead."
"Of course not!" Twilight cheered, despite the tears beginning to trickle down her cheeks. "All they want to do is eat our love! And the love between six good friends like us is sure to scrumptious!"
"TWILIGHT! Not you too!" Pinkie Pie, a horrible feeling in the pit of her stomach.
RD made a snap decision. "Sorry Twilight! But I'll bet my Sonic Rainbow is faster than your magic or ta toss yourself in my way!"
"RD ya still talk too much!" AJ snapped sounding angry, then said softly, "And ya can't do that."
RD turned to her, "AJ we don't have time to debate Celestia...could be."
= Dark Underground Rap Instrumental =
AJ's eyes shined with the Truth.
"AJ...stop, please, I can't, I don't want to." Rainbow eyes twitched as she looked upon truths she never wanted to learn. Tears began to form in her eyes.
"Her Madjesty can't have ya causing trouble now can she? Too bad she was worried that pesky Element of Loyalty might make ya resistant ta lettin' her make ya all nice and cooperative-like. Ah'm sorry. How deep inta the truth can ya go before yer brain breaks in itty-bitty pieces Ah wonder," AJ said in a callous almost cruel voice gently holding RD's muzzle, RD unable to bring herself to even closer her eyes.
Rainbow Dash's entire body was shaking, seeing every thoughtless, callous, and cruel wrong she had brought upon Derpy over the years since foalhood.
"HI-YA!" Rarity did a leaping kick to Applejack, knowing she was tough enough to take it, knocking AJ away from Rainbow and breaking the connection by force. "Pardon Applejack, but Rainbow darling looked like she could use a break from reflection." She knelt down to the Pegasus, "Darling are you alright?"
"No. I'm not," Rainbow Dash hissed in pain.
Ah'll say this about mah time under that witch's spell. Makin' meh do THAT tah Rainbow? Makin' me do the ONE thing that refusin' tah do separated meh from Nightmare Mirror? That's second on mah lists of things Ah'll never forgive that no good rotten rattlesnake for!
(Notes (Pegasus): Second?)
First is the look on Applebloom's face when she saw meh like that!
(Notes (Pegasus): Oh.)
Cadence hated the feeling of helplessness welling up inside her. She couldn't have escaped for NOTHING could she? She couldn't make things WORSE could she?! Her eyes wandered to two empty seats, looking rather out of place in the room full of standing ponies, put there as a reminder for two beloved friends she had lost before that she could do nothing about.
Chrysalis touched the bleeding area on her head with a snarl, then looked at the group. "Thank you so much for leaving my Twilight Sparkle behind in this room. Alone. If you'd bothered to stay, then I'd never have had the chance you gave me."
Pinkie Pie's eyes teared up.
Applebloom's eyes went wide with shock.
"But don't worry, you're not the only ones who made this possible," said Chrysalis, walking over to Applejack. "If your friend here had just been a little more observant, this never would have happened. Isn't that right, my little pony?"
Pinkie sunk to her knees. "Please...no."
Applejack didn't look sick, but she still seemed...unnatural, like her eyes were sad while the rest of her face said nothing. "Yes...yer madjesty. Ah coulda ruined this whole thing if Ah hadn't been worryin' about ponies' privacy. This is all because of meh."
Chrysalis grinned at the looks on the faces. "What? No 'oh, she's lying'? Oh, right, she's Miss Honesty. Oh, you don't know how hard that stubborn little mind of hers was to make lie at all. Tell them again."
"It's mah fault this happened."
Chrysalis chuckled. "That's a good little pony. And who am I?"
"You are Her Madjesty."
"And what does that make me?"
"And what are you?"
I'll admit...I know exactly how Applejack must feel now about that...The baddie revealing your big mistake to the entire world, or at least to Cloudsdale. I've been there...She was there for me when I let my mistakes begin to eat me alive, just like Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy were when I went nuts. I'll be there for you AJ. That's a pegasus promise.
"Sis...no...p-please." said Applebloom, trembling, tears streaming down her face.
Applejack looked at her sister. She opened her mouth to say something, but instead literally gagged on the words she was trying to say. After a few moments, she stopped...and a single tear ran down her otherwise unreadable face.
"You and your brother have done a good job Twilight Sparkle." Chrysalis, AGAIN switched to Cadence's voice just for the fun of it. "You are a pair of remarkable siblings."
"Thank you, Your Majesty," The two echoed together.
"I LOVE ponies who do a good job, but I like it more when they give me love instead." Queen Chrysalis whispered leaning close to the smiling purple unicorn. "Your brother's love tastes so good, yours is very delectable too. Let's have another little taste."
= Pure Odio Live-A-Live =
"GET AWAY FROM MY BABIES!" Starlight Sparkle hissed as she teleported right in Chrysalis' face, catching everyone in the room by surprise. She kicked and bucked at the changeling queen who dodged all of her blows not even blocking them, then Starlight grabbed a solid stone pillar with her magic and threw it high speed at the queen who deflected it with blow of her own magic. In that instant Starlight Sparkle teleported again and blasted the queen with a concentrated blast of starlight magic at point blank right in the queen's face. The flash cleared to show a tiny oozing crack on the carapace of Chrysalis face.
Chrysalis felt pain, then fury. "YOU'LL PAY FOR THAT YOU LITTLE WORM! NOW YOU SQUIRM!" All four of Starlight's legs were caught in Chrysalis' telekinesis, then TWISTED in ways Princess Gaia never intended. She cried out in pain as Chrysalis released her now with four broken legs, then abruptly caught her magically gripping one leg, causing more pain. "Leave the ad-libbing to the professionals."
She then threw Twilight's mother at high speed toward a wall, Moonlight Sparkle barely managed to catch her with his own magic to prevent her from being permanently damaged.
"Tertiary characters who exist just to embellish a character's background should just stay in the backdrop, where they belong and let the main characters play the important roles. And parents should run away to breed another day," the queen said. "I carry within me the indestructible desire to survive. What makes any of you think you can break it?!"
Neither Shining nor Twilight had even flinched.
"My foals, forgive me, for failing you," The mother said through the pain as her husband cradled her.
"Your books stink by the way, I burn every copy I find," Chrysalis verbally threw at the broken unicorn. "My one good deed for the arts."
Mom...Have I ever told you how much I hate being made to watch ponies I care about get hurt?
(Notes (Earth Pony): Yes, Shiney. We were there in the old timeline.)
Then you can imagine how I feel looking back on that...I think Twilight feels the same way...
"Seems your love and faith in your student weren't so unbreakable after all." Chrysalis leaned and whispered to Celestia.
I didn't waste breath on the fallen Flutterpony. I had little to spare.
(Notes (Pegasus): Grandma...I'VE HAD ENOUGH!)
(Notes (Unicorn): I'm sorry.)
(Notes (Earth Pony): The bad big witch hurt grandma!)
(Notes (Unicorn): I'm sorry.)
(Notes (Pegasus): Dawn! You talk with Queen Tiamat and tell her Teacher is calling in a BIG favor! I'll go to the Wonderbolts, every guard who isn't a changeling, and get Trixie's mother in Hoofington and lead her to where she can find a good teleport mage! Then you see if you can find where The Doctor's gotten to this time! He should be here in Canterlot already! And don't you dare tell us this is all still 'normal' Dusk!)
(Notes (Unicorn): I'm sorry.)
(Note: (Pegasus): This isn't how things are supposed to go! This is an emergency!)
(Note: (Unicorn): Sisters. I'm sorry. I...let my guard down. Because Her Majesty is not as powerful as Nightmare Whisper with the Elder Horn, I believed Her Majesty couldn't effect me when I interviewed her. I let her get too close, I didn't think she could be a threat. I under estimated Her Majesty.)
That does seem to be my fate. But thankfully there are some fates I can change.
(Note: (Pegasus): WHAT?! NO WAY! THERE IS NO WAY!)
(Notes (Earth Pony): You big bully!!!)
=AUTO RECORD SET=
(Note: (Pegasus): Dusk, what did you do with the notes? They're writing on their own?)
(Notes (Unicorn): I'm sorry. I've failed you. This is all MY FAULT. We outside of time, divine light be sealed, down our perch we climb, naked in the mortal's field. Scattered by the wind. In mortality we're pinned.)
"Yes my queen."
It is fate it seems that I am always to be underestimated! May all recognize now, that the I, and my changelings, are NOT to be trivialized.
"Hey, you okay?"
BLECH! What a headache! This makes that punch Fluttercruel gave me seem like a love pat. Wait. Huh?
I opened my eyes, focusing on a blue pegasus stallion in a Wonderbolt's uniform. "Uuuuuuugh."
"Can you speak?"
"S-Soarin'," I gasped out.
"That's my name. Spitfire says you teleported right into our hotel room. I'd say you went to a lot of trouble for an autograph, but you look like you just went through Tartarus."
I must have influenced Dusk's spell slightly through our link and landed me somewhere safely close-by. Or I think I did.
What the buck. This is impossible. Oh no. Please no!...I felt sick, naked, and terrified all at once! Horseapples.
I curled up in a ball and began to shake. No. No. I can't be. This isn't right! This is WRONG!!!!
"Miss? Miss!" Dawn. Dusk.
This is...is like when Mr. Discord hurt me when I tried to help Tiara.
Peewee? Thanks Super-Mommy! You're okay! Hugs! I'm so happy you're here. Where is here?
Huh? Where are my notes?...I feel funny. No, not silly Peewee, I feel, not right.
OW! I can't, I can't walk through walls? I better get back to when the wedding happens! We gotta help...huh? Why...w-why can't I walk through time? It's still here! So why can I move through it Peewee?!
This reminds me of that play where the narrator gets pulled into the story by the characters...I'm not going to be fed me to a giant am I Peewee? You're right, our friends wouldn't do something like that.
I'm still in Canterlot, all the fancy dressed adults are looking funny at me.
Everypony's looking at me! But Peewee I'm supposed to be 'as good as invisible.'
Bigger sister...big sister...I don't think I've ever felt this alone before...I'm scared Peewee....
"Excuse me little miss, are you alright?"
My name is Half-Light Dusk. I write this as I stand atop the roof of the wedding ceremony. I am branded by Her Majesty's taint. Her other slaves and her people know not to attack me even though I am no longer outside of time. I was born old. Because of the link my sisters and I share, my power was sealed when theirs was, and I was pushed into normal time when they were. I could have done so to them alone, but thankfully Her Majesty ordered I do so at once on the spot without time for me to prepare. My only hope is that my two sisters are able to thwart me. And save Cadence and the rest of our families.
Caramel inched towards his princess, hoping the changeling queen would be too busy listening to herself talk to notice. Sadly, he hadn't counted on the brainwashed ponies and dragon in the room doing anything other than stand there like zombies.
"You were ordered to stay put Caramel, bad soldier." Caramel was bashed in the face by a force field.
"Trying to protect someone with no chance of winning?" Chrysalis said in a disinterested tone, "Insects like you should scurry back under their rocks."
"We have to get The Princess out of here."
"The rules say when facing something you can't beat: retreat!" Cherry Coke stated.
"They didn't say abandon Princess Celestia when she's right there!" Note Worthy snapped back.
"I'd do the heroic thing and say 'I want you to leave me', but I'd be lying," Banjo hissed through the pain.
"Spike, send the signal to Digger Wasp, and an order to Hercules Beetle to divert troops to the wedding hall immediately."
"Yes Your Majesty," Spike droned, pulling out scroll and swiftly scribbling a message on a second note.
"Spike no!" Rarity called.
"Sorry, it's what Her Majesty wants," Spike replied.
"What about what I want? What about what you want?"
"I'm sorry Rarity."
"And I'm sad Spike. Do you want me sad?"
"No but it's what Her Majesty wants."
I kept talking, like most of my friends, I can talk my muzzle off when need be. Nopony's eyes were on my target, Shining's were on his men, Chrysalis' were on Cadence, Twilight's eyes were on our fronts, Spike was on me, and Applejack's was on our backs.
Only Pinkie Pie knows I can use my telekinesis without making my horn visibly glow, it's a little trick I've learned as a side product of the illusion magic I've studied for presenting my dresses as I did with Hoity Toity.
With precision and quietness that Trixie and Twilight can't compare to, I lifted our Princess' crown off the floor, maneuvering it around the field of vision of the wicked queen and our enslaved friends.
Princess Celestia's crown wasn't mere gold, or I didn't think it was, it had taken a full head on magical blast and was only scorched rather than sundered, I hoped that proved it was made of sterner stuff. I silently apologized to our Princess for using her crown this way.
I had struck Spike once already this hour, twice more pained me, but what had to be done had to be done, and with that thick dragon hide of his, this would just knock him off kilter instead of cracking skull like it would a pony.
I focused all of my magic, the crown still wasn't glowing, and the assembled ponies had thankfully been wise enough not to say a word as they saw what I was doing. Just a little more, in position. Alright, focus as much as you can, they'll be prepared for a strike on the queen, that's what they'll try to block. Focus, center, breath, think of Equestria, and like a falcon, STRIKE-
The crown, still going fast, Sweetie Belle, NO! PLEASE! NOT AGAIN! I GRAB THE CROWN WITH FULL FORCE and stop it just in time before it can touch a hair on Sweetie's Belle head.
"Sweetie! Out of the way! Spike's not himself!" I begged. I had forgotten completely how Sweetie and her friends could sprint like lightning if they were so inclined, covering the span of the hall in a moment...I hadn't even seen her until it was almost too late. Almost. Again. Almost I had hurt her again. Sweetie Belle, I'm sorry.
She was smiling at me, her eyes wide and staring. "Sister, please don't hurt Spike, he's just helping Chryssy."
I gasped. I looked to my baby sister as she stood using herself as a shield, always smiling. "No…Not…Sweetie, not you too."
Mah heart broke in two. "Sweetie."
All Ah could think about is 'why is this happenin'?" Spike...Applejack...Sweetie...She...she took them all. Mah sister...two of mah best friends...Ah'd never felt so alone...
Scootaloo did the only thing she could think of and hugged Applebloom. Silver Spoon's lip quivered. Silver Tongue felt ashamed he couldn't stop the white filly in time.
"That's very good of you Sweetie Belle!" Twilight praised. "You're a good filly!"
"Thank you!" She chirped back.
"Y-you, y-you, YOU MONSTER!" Rarity screamed.
"Don't throw a fit pony, I'm the one having a bad day," Chrysalis said matter of fact, "I didn't tell my little song bird to do anything. She did that one on her own, didn't you?"
"Yes Chryssy! I wanted to help!"
"And yes you did." Chrysalis ruffled Sweetie's mane affectionately, "But don't risk yourself like that again, you're far too important, my little song bird, to be sacrificed in that matter."
"DON'T YOU DARE TOUCH HER!" Rarity snarled.
Meanwhile, Spike went about his given task of dragon mailing off the two message.
"Sister, don't resist. We can have so much fun together!" Sweetie Belle said like Rarity was refusing to do something because it wasn't 'couth' again. "You don't wanna end up like that other unicorn do you?" Sweetie grinned. "She went KA-CRACK!" Sweetie made a short happy jump.
Rarity took a step back, her head swimming. The world turning completely unreal. "N-no."
The green eyed filly turned and waved at her friends. "Hey! Scoots, 'Bloom, Silver, this is great! You should join me and Spike! We can be Cutie Mark Crusader Royal Pets! Or Cutie Mark Crusader Royal Minions! Or Cutie Mark Crusader Royal Dark Apprentices! It's totally awesome!" Then she said in a zombie-like, "Join us. Joooooiiiinn uuuuuussss!" She burst out laughing. "Heheh! But seriously, let Chryssy fix you up, you'll love it."
Fluttershy felt sick to her stomach.
"Ain't she just adorable?" AJ said smiling. "Come on Rarity," she said sagely, "You and Sweetie did promise to try new things together."
"It'll make a lovely friendship report for Teacher," Twilight encouraged.
"Not this again," Pinkie Diane lament with a hint of despair.
Chrysalis thoroughly enjoyed the love the filly offered her on a silver platter, she chuckled, as sweet as Sweetie Belle was Chrysalis had a schedule to keep, time to start rounding up the cattle for processing...hm? Hadn't there been two unicorn guards at the back of the doorway? Must have run off like the panicky animals they were, let them, there was nowhere for them to run.
The idiot who had tried to ruin everything, showing his dedication to be removed from the gene pool, hadn't done the intelligent thing and taken his broke mare friend of the week and fled like anything with the slightest trace of self preservation. What was the best punishment? Breaking his back, slamming him into a few walls, and draining his talking love-doll into an empty husk in front of him, would make for a decent start. Maybe hoof him over to Kabuto after that. Seriously, she was doing these cattle a favor culling the stupid and suicidal from their numbers.
As for her lesser half, she didn't have the courage to face herself, Twilight, and Shining all together. Crushing Celestia and making an example of that middle aged mare had cowed rest of the cattle.
Well. Am I scared? This prince is ready to wet his royal self. I want to scream and hide underneath a table. But Cadence wasn't running, so I wouldn't run either. I should have grabbed Arcana and galloped for he nearest doctor. Instead I stayed near my cousin. Hmmmm. If I made a big enough mule of myself, maybe I could get the talking bad dream so mad that while she's busy delivering mind numbingly pain upon my royal nerve endings, cousin could reach Auntie. Maybe she could help her? They were both Alicorns.
A bluish gray unicorn stallion with a black mane, Long Haul as his friends knew him, stood at his post in Canterlot Castle's communications room. He kept his eyes on the time. '600...599...598...'
A burst of dragon fire descended next to him and materialized into a scroll. He narrowed his eyes and took it.
"What is it sir?" asked one of the workers under him.
"Just an order from Her Majesty. We're to do a shift change now," he said, folding it a putting it away.
"Already? But our shift doesn't end for another ten minutes."
"There's been a change of plans, you're all getting to leave duty early," he said in a friendly, casual tone. "Her Majesty is a good ruler after all, she wants to be fair to her followers."
"Right about that!" replied a green eyed unicorn, one of the ones in charge of sending letters.
As everypony began gathering their things, he slowly trotted over to the door and locked it silently.
He trotted over to the lights and took a careful, calculating look over the group, making a close check of everyone's locations.
Green bolts of energy lit up the room and when the lights back on, the majority of the troops in the room lay unconscious on the ground, except for a number of green eyed unicorns, some of which had attacked their fellows.
"What's going on in there?" asked a guard's voice from the other side of the door.
He trotted over. "Oh, just a short circuit in some of the radios and a minor explosion, no pony is hurt, please keep an eye for the maintenance crew, we've already called for them," he replied.
"...Alright, will do."
Long Haul trotted over to the green eyed unicorns. "Keep sending the all clear messages," he stated, his tone now cold and calculating.
The 'unicorn' nodded. "And send out the order, it's time to begin, so says Her Majesty."
Long Haul moved over and picked up one of the unconscious guards. "This is bothersome, why couldn't you cattle just make this easy?"
An unassuming pegasus guard patrolled the halls silently. As he did so, several ponies, some guards, some not, slowly filed in behind him.
"Sir, her Majesty has signaled we begin early," reported one of them.
The pegasus nodded. "Do as she says, it's time to-"
A letter materialized directly in front of him. He took it and carefully read it.
"What is it, sir?"
"We're needed in the Wedding Hall, now," he ordered, "For Her Majesty!"
The other 'pegasi' joined him, swarming towards the Wedding Hall.
Digger Wasp and Hercules Beetle should have read their orders by now.
This day has turned out perfect after all, this will be the day I've dreamed of since I was small. In spite of idiots and trouble makers everything important has gone as it should.
Wait. I sense something...No!
You are joking! This is absurd! It's completely illogical! This is ridiculous! It's not even possible! This didn't happen before! She wasn't here before! How could the other one even be here?! Wait! You are kidding me! Those two guards!
When we saw something take our Princess head-on...we quickly voted that we needed the scarier princess, and plenty of back-up.
Now I have to worry about quaternary non-characters? What a headache! The anti-teleportation wards were still in place, but I felt the immense power of the night itself coming down on me with a small army of tiny pieces of her essence flying behind her. That was the bad news. The worse news was Hercules Beetle and my changelings would arrived second. And even if they did arrive in time, I couldn't be sure she wouldn't just plow straight through them.
I wasn't looking forward to a fight with the more ruthless of the Royal Sisters after the unwanted surprise with Celestia. The reports from the Griffin Wars on thousand years ago showed that. What was worse was I had a feeling a focused laser made from moonlight wouldn't have as much collateral damage to worry about as a beam of solar plasma. Being in a room full of innocent civilians was not going to help me against her! This wasn't according to plan. Why had everything changed like this, it made no sense!
And the amount of power I felt coming towards me at the force of a comet wasn't giving me time for reflection!
"Your Majesty? Are you alright?" My purple pony asked. I looked at her seeing worry and concern in her eyes. Blech! I refuse to lose here! I refuse to die here! I refuse to be swept aside!
And it all came to me in one moment.
"Shining, drop the barrier," I ordered.
"Yes Your Majesty." The shield around Canterlot dissolved.
"Quake before the power of the Night!" The Canterlot Royal Voice boomed, causing the windows to shudder, not slowing down to negotiate, not slowing down to demand a surrender. From the energy I felt, she was instead charging up to try and blow my head off with one shot. I had to admire her, she wasn't as naive as her sister.
I placed my horn against Shining Armor's, I tap into his magic, assume direct control. A twisted green roaring fire engulfs us. Shining Armor is clearly in pain. Too bad. I don't have time to waste on making this pleasant! I force myself harder and harder into him, he feels pain and pleasure at my magic's touch. His heart is ashamed but he can't resist. He tilts his head back and cries out, our horn still touching, and the barrier reappears and expands around us in the blink of an eye. It passes through my changelings without harm, or the cattle in the wedding hall... however.
Princess Luna didn't stop as the barrier exploded in front of her, but it had changed, she had time to gasp in shock as the barrier hit her hard. She and her Night Guard, and nearly every free royal guard in Canterlot, were all sent flying out of the city, over the landscape, and over the horizon at blinding speed, Luna only able to redirect the power from the beam she'd been moments from firing at the queen to try and pull the innocent ponies close to herself.
The brainwashed slaves looked with joy and satisfaction, the heroes and guests looked in terror and despair. Chrysalis panted, Shining Armor's body shivered involuntarily. The Queen looked around, chest heaving and head aching from the magic overload, and a few moment later, the only sound anypony could hear in the wedding hall was the sound of Queen Chrysalis, laughing.
"And that is how it should have ended the first time," Chrysalis said like to a lover as she looked at the crowd of broken faces.
"Princess Luna," Fluttershy whispered, "All those ponies."
"This...this isn't right." Pinkie Pie more to herself than anyone.
"Horseapples," RD hissed.
"Please be alright." Rarity whispered remembering how the ponies who had been thrown out all had wings. She hoped she wasn't just saying that to herself. Still, they had princess Luna with them didn't they?
"You should have all just played nice with Her Majesty!" Sweetie Belle called out the window.
The two other flower fillies and Silver were shivering. The guest likewise were petrified at the sight of their leaders as such. Cadence meanwhile was disgusted at herself for standing here like a mare in distress, but her legs removed to move. All the horrors she bought, why was she paralyzed by this. What was this sick feeling of right yet wrong from this monster?
Several pegasus royal guard then forced their way through the windows. Hope filled everypony's hearts, that quickly turned to despair as they were engulfed in green flames that turned into stubbier, smaller, bug-like ponies like the queen herself, but with compound eyes.
"Use the doors," Chrysalis grumbled.
Ignoring the slaves, Princesses, Elements and the groomstallions, the bugs began from the front to organizes the guests by gender and species.
Celestia looked at the monsters terrorizing her ponies as she struggled to think clearly through her repairing brain. 'Breezies. Flutterponies. I didn't want your legacy to be this.'
The lead pegasus guard landed next to the changeling queen and said, "I am here Your Majesty."
Chrysalis said indignantly. "Congratulations Hercules Beetle, once again you fail to protect your queen, I had to do your job and your sluggishness forced me to rework our entire plans. You are nothing if not consistent."
Green flames surrounding the pegasus guard, revealing a larger, more well armored Changeling with black and gold armor adorning his frame. He genuflected, "Forgive me my Queen, I came as quickly as-"
She struck him with one hoof.
"And your quickest was too slow. If it wasn't for my quick thinking, I'd be dead. Inform Goliath Beetle he is my new general, you'll be serving as his first officer."
"My Queen! Please pick someling else! I'll gladly serve as a foot soldier if you wish it. But my brother is too reckless to-"
"He has never failed his queen. And thanks to you reckless just might be what's needed. Are you questioning me Hercules?"
"Then do as I say."
"As you command my queen!" The changeling said without a trace of sarcasm or irony.
"Ya did yer best. That's all anypony can ask of ya, there's no shame in that."
The armored changeling looked back at the brainwashed Applejack in surprise.
"I didn't ask you to speak," Chrysalis said.
"Ya didn't ask me not to."
The queen rubbed her non-existent eyebrows, and refused a Changeling trying to tend to her head wound.
"My little song bird?"
"Give all of Canterlot your grand debut."
"YES YOUR MAJESTY!"
Sweetie Belle obediently, eagerly, practically willing hopped out onto the balcony, and with help from Chrysalis' magic, plopped her rump on the extra large guard rails like a stage. Sweetie gave Rarity a triumphant look that made Rarity's heart skip a beat. The filly then began to sing.
="Evil Luna's Song" - Silver Star Story Complete=
Rarity recognized the song, even if Sweetie was only singing to the the melody and not the lyrics. That song?! Their FAMILY'S SONG? Kept private for generations?!
"What is the point of this you witch?!"
Chrysalis shrugged casually. "I don't really understand it myself. But my little song bird's voice, and her song, carries within it a year's worth of love for a changeling. My subjects shouldn't be able to even metabolize that much love. And yet, her voice and this song, gives us all strength." Chrysalis grinned. "Maybe she just has the right spirit."
Green magic began to flow out of the filly's mouth like sparkling mist almost, and the sparkles gravitated to every changeling in the room and continued to float outside.
"There's something fascinating about her, isn't there Cadence?" The princess of music startled at how personal the monster now sounded. "Something almost familiar, a filly with such an obvious gift, and yet she turns a blind eye to it. Why could such a thing be Cadence?"
All the Elements wondered how to pop the witch's bubble by telling her the CMC were just thick-headed without hurting the little fillies' feelings.
But Cadence found herself thinking, feeling that the witch was right, there was something strangely familiar about the musical filly, or maybe she was just letting the witch's head games get to her. She tried drawing some strength from the filly's song as well as covertly as possible, but as it wasn't directed at her nor could she actively draw it in without giving away one of the few trump cards she still had up her sleeves, she could only regain enough strength to stand on her own, not nearly enough to fight. Not nearly enough to do anything.
This queen of lies. Ah hate 'er guts. Ponies ain't supposed ta hate like this, but Ah can't stand it. I'm disgusted at 'er. No Ah don't want 'er dead, do Ah look like a savage? Ah want her ta see the truth, for all these lies she's used to use us and she's made me say to bite 'er in the flank, for her to stare straight into the cruelest of truths and weep like a baby!
Ah want done with this here queen of Lies? I want to swim to the surface of this muck she has meh buried in and stop her? There's a choice Ah can make that'll fix 'er, and fix all mah friends and anypony else she has under her spell. Ah can save em, after all, the truth sets ya free. And show all her underlings how screwed up their worldview is. All Ah gotta do is accept the power. Ah can feel it, at the edge of mahself, Ah wanna dive into it, become one with it. And shine for everypony ta see me! Tearin' away all them falsehoods they've built around themselves. Would Ah become a monster to fight the worse monster?
And it would be an evil they know opposed to an evil they don't.
There's Trixie safe back in Hoofington, and big brother Mac in Ponyville, they could use the Elements to fix me after Ah'm done trouncing this here witch. Ah could even get a lot of good done in the mean time. Ah could get them Canterlot ponies ta see the truth that they ain't no better than anypony else, and get Princess Celestia's subjects ta see she just wants to be accepted by 'em as a friend and not just our Princess. I could get Mitta to see the truth she oughta just forgive herself and move on. Ah could get Princess Luna ta see the truth of how out-dated some of her ideas of what's alright and what isn't are. Ah could even get Big Mac ta see the truth he doesn't have ta be in his shell all the time. Ah can get RD ta tell the truth of Discord's day to Cloudsdale! Just like Ah got'er to finally see what a jerk she's been to Derpy, and Ah'll get all these cowards to see the truth! They'll hate me but Ah won't bucking care cause the truth's the truth and shouldn't be--NO!
Thinkin' Ah can direct the beast if Ah let her out? Ah know that's a lie. Becomin' a Nightmare is like a fire: light it and it'll burn what yah want it to, but it ain't stoppin' there. It's the nature of the beast.
The truth is, that is what Ah wanted. Ah never liked how most of the rules for Aunt and Uncle Orange's 'proper pony' spiel was say one thing and mean another. Ah told Twili' how Ah was gonna accept 'Cadence's' little white lie and have that be that, and it went and caused all this. Ah hate it. Ah'm a practical pony, Ah know ya can't go sayin' everythin' ta everypony, even if Ah don't like it... Ah can't do it. Ah ain't lettin' Nightmare Mirror loose on the world. Ah ain't makin' it so mah friends have ta worry about another monster. Ah just hurt Rainbow Dash worse than Discord ever could, because everythin' Ah showed her was the truth. That was close enough tah Nightmare Mirror for mah tastes. Ah won't hurt mah friends and family and a bunch of innocent ponies the same way. Not now. Not ever. Ah'm sorry girls, Ah just can't do it. Ah'll just have keep tryin' tah swim tah the surface of this muck she's drownin' meh in and hope yer hooves will be waitin' tah pull meh out when Ah get there. Stay in limbo where ya belong Nightmare Mirror, Ah ain't never becomin' ya, so just forget about it.
"I LIKED IT BETTER WHEN WE JUST DID INTROSPECTIVE ONE-SHOTS!" I cried out seeing the nasty and cruel bug ponies bullying everypony. Nopony paid me mind. An invading army? Betrayal? Impostors? When did we become a war drama?! This wasn't right! I didn't feel like the world was piling up contradictions, but everything still felt broken to me. We were supposed to be having the happy ending now! Everything dramatic was supposed to have been solved and we could finally just live our lives! Nothing felt like it needed fixing, but everything still felt broken.
HEH-HEH-HEH. I can fix-fix-fix that. I can make the world right again. I can have this back to a nice merchandise driven little girls' half-hour toy commercial where everything is happy-happy-happy and bright-bright-bright and there's no such thing as hatred. I just need to accept lent power. Hmm. That Nerutrot reference doesn't work well in first person. How silly-silly-silly of me! I should make the whole WORLD silly-silly-silly again! Minty will be herself again! Rainbow Dash will be herself again! Princess Rarity will be herself again! And all the brainwashing the Alicorns and the Draconequi did to all my friends can go away!
Stop Pinkie Pie. Just stop. You've already had your 'almost fall into darkness' plot point. Don't go recycling scripts at a time like this. You've got to stay calm. Stay smart. Stay focused. Well, stay on task, keep your mind on your friends, and don't go crazy. And going all 'super nice in a bad way' isn't going to help anypony the way they need help right now either. We haven't done any bad guy fights bad guy plot points and I don't want to be the first one! And if Zecora was here, she'd say,
Don't focus on who your friends were in the past.
Help them as they are in the present while they last.
Right imaginary Zecora. I really need to stop mentioning that plot point every one of my narratives or I'm going to end up flanderizing myself. Alright Pinkie Pie! Think! We're not in a grim dark fic after all! No way the authors brought us all this way just to have a nasty twist ending! Even the Second Age Ponies had their happy ending! There's gotta be an opening now or soon! Find it and use it! After all, the darkest hour is just a part of the story! And we'll get to the dawn even if we have to fight our hardest for it! We'll get our happy ending no matter how long it takes!
A tiny star flew into the wedding hall, then exploded in a blinding white flash of light magic.
"PRINCESS RUN!" Twinkle Shine's voice cried out.